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Will he do it?

Brian Taylor | 11:57 UK time, Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Would he do it? Gordon Brown, that is.

Would he dump his Chancellor and fellow Scot, Alistair Darling?

Given the presently febrile state of politics at Westminster, the answer must be: if that's what it takes.

The relationship between Prime Minister and Chancellor is at the very core of UK politics.

Normally, a PM is exceptionally reluctant to abandon his Downing Street neighbour.

Sends negative global signals. Spooks the market, apparently.

Me, I think we could do with marketeers who are capable of taking a somewhat longer view of events - but no matter. Quivering markets must not be upset.

Adverse publicity

In any case, these are far from normal times.

Mr Brown may be forced to conclude that the only way of attempting - repeat, attempting - to counter the tide of adverse publicity is to offer a highly significant grey-haired, dark eye-browed scalp.

At the very least, it's not looking good for the MP for Edinburgh South West.

The custodian of the UK's finances has had to repay over-claimed expenses in order "to avoid ambiguity".

It follows the disclosure that he had repeatedly "flipped" his second home designation in claiming cash at Westminster.

Not good at all. Invited to comment by the BBC, Mr Darling said: "It's up to the prime minister. He's got to decide the team he wants to be the next government."

Was there just a note of resignation - in both senses of the word - in that answer?

And of course there's more. We learn now that Jim Devine, the Labour MP for Livingston, has been referred to the party's special panel in order to determine whether he should continue to be a Westminster candidate in future.

Not good at all.

PS: Welcome your comments as ever. Would remind you, gently, that it is one of the house rules that responses should not stray from the particular topic on offer.

This is designed to ensure that, in the interests of all readers, there can be focused, substantive debate.

Over a prolonged period, it means that the broadest possible range of topics can be aired.


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